19 February 12020 is Armed Forces Day (Mexico). On this day in history (or maybe the day before) in 1967 I went to a record store of some kind and attempted to order a copy of “Horror Asparagus Stories.” My father had brought home a copy that his radio station had rejected, but it was one of those promotional copies with a blank b-side. The first side had blown me away, so I really wanted to hear what the other side sounded like. And something had given me the impression that it was from an upcoming album, so I wanted to go about getting a copy of that as well, at least as soon as it came out.
Although I said it was a “record store” at the beginning of this narrative, I believe it was actually a record department in a larger store—but I don’t remember for sure. I used to buy music by the likes of Stravinsky and Shostakovich there—Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin—Russian composers mainly, till I started getting interested in Renaissance and Baroque music. But they had a large popular music department, much larger actually than the section for the music I listened to, so my request didn’t seem that unreasonable to me.
To this day I don’t know why, but I was treated quite rudely by the people behind the desk there. I mean, I had the catalog number of the record, the name of the artist, the title of the song, everything necessary (one would think). They denied the existence of the record, and when I insisted that I had held a copy of it in my hand and heard it play on my own turntable, they finally turned it up in some catalog or list or something. But they wouldn’t order me a copy, and the department manager (or whatever exactly he was) was brought in to tell me that not only would he not order it for me, if they accidentally received a copy of it from somewhere they would send it right back. «We don’t want something like that in this store,» he explained, not necessarily in those exact words; «We’ve got ‘Penny Lane,’ or ‘I’m a Believer,’ or maybe you’d like ‘Georgy Girl.’» Something like that, anyway.
So I never did get my copy of “Horror Asparagus Stories”—well, not there anyway. I still have the discarded promotional copy, along with a discarded promotional copy of “Penny Lane.” And many years later I bought the CD version of the unreleased Horror Asparagus Stories album to listen to. I probably wasn’t missing much.